TOWARDS A CHRISTIAN VEDANTA: THE ENCOUNTER OF HINDUISM AND CHRISTIANITY ACCORDING TO BEDE GRIFFITHS

WAYNE ROBERT TEASDALE, Fordham University

Abstract

Bede Griffiths has sought for many years to formulate and express the relationship of the Christian and Hindu faiths. And he has done this within the context of a historical movement which is identified as sannyasic monasticism. In this study, the author attempts to discover how these two traditions are relatable and what precisely the terms of the relationship are in Bede Griffiths' understanding. In order to answer these questions, the author considers Bede's views on knowledge, metaphysical reality and his mystical or contemplative theology, for the nature of knowledge is answered in Bede's version of the perennial philosophy which itself rests on spiritual wisdom or contemplative awareness.^ The author then examines the main themes of Bede's theology, and considers the primordial link between the Judeo-Christian tradition and Hinduism in Bede's notion of the Cosmic Revelation/Covenant which unites them in an original, pure experience of the Divine in nature and in the depths of the soul. Thus the first indication of relatability is discovered. Hinduism is shown to be a religion of the Cosmic Revelation/Covenant in which all traditions share.^ The author then explores the terms of the relationship on the more ultimate level of both traditions, as Bede regards them: advaita/saccidananda and the Trinity. He finds that Bede understands the Trinity as a deeper grasp of the mystery because of the note of interpersonal relationship, which is one of communion in knowledge and love. The author shows how Bede relates saccidananda and Trinity in the same ontological mystery of ultimate depth, but does not identify them, or equate them. Furthermore, it is also shown hows accidananda, in Bede's view, can be a term for the Trinity in an Indian Christian theology which is also a Christian form of the Vedanta, though it is not itself the Trinity in its Hindu meaning. It can, however, be appropriated as a term for the Trinity.^ The author goes on to examine Bede's Christology, his notions of Christian Tantrism, Christian sannyasa and his vision of the Church's role as the unifying center of the world's religions. Arising out of this study of Bede Griffiths' contemplative, dialogical theology, the author identifies three creative implications: existential convergence, the ontological continuum/spiral, and a new model of the Church. ^

Subject Area

Theology

Recommended Citation

WAYNE ROBERT TEASDALE, "TOWARDS A CHRISTIAN VEDANTA: THE ENCOUNTER OF HINDUISM AND CHRISTIANITY ACCORDING TO BEDE GRIFFITHS" (January 1, 1986). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI8615734.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8615734

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